Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dear Diary

I had a diary when I was a young girl, a birthday gift from my mother. It was red leather hard bound with a gold lock on the front. My mother told me that it was My Diary and she explained to me that it was a good way for me to journal my life, keep track of my ideas, pen my secrets, and record my special events.

I wrote down a few of my secret desires, nothing to outrageous, somehow I knew better. I even wrote about some of my disappointments regarding my personal, social and academic life. I wrote about some of the adventures my friends were having, the ‘coming of age’ adventures my generation did. However, intrinsically, I knew not to write about my intimate feelings or any of my personal escapades. I remember for safekeeping that I hid it on the top shelf of my closet(symbolism in it's highest form) behind an old purse, completely out of sight.

Then, one day, out of the clear blue, my mother asked me about one of my friends and whether or not it was really true that they did this or that. I knew immediately that she had gone snooping in my room, found my well-hidden diary and read it. She would have had no other way of knowing this information. I could even envision her in my minds eye picking the little gold lock. I never really trusted her after that but I never really trusted her before either. She eventually admitted reading it probably only because she knew she was busted. Somehow, that particular behavior was so representative of her true character. Sneaky.

She went through my homework assignments in the same manner, searching for what ever I wrote. If I checked out a library book she would read it after I went to bed, before I could ever finish a book, she read it. She seemed competitive about it at times. Just once, it would have been nice to read a book first. It was as if she needed to know what I read and what I wrote. Her behaviors messed with my head. She took a lot of the joy out of reading and writing for me. She was not only invasive, she was constantly critical of my endeavors.

Regardless of the violations of childhood by my mother, over the years, I have enthusiastically started numerous journals; but before too many entries, I stop writing and file the journal away on some shelf in one of my remotest bookcases, never to be written in again. I have had some beautiful journals, my favorite one was gray suede and I wrote in it for six days. A few months ago, I sat down and read a few of the entries realizing all the entries sounded so fake and so insincere. They were completely censored and it was as if I shallowly wrote them expecting someone to find them read them. To my knowledge no one ever did.

After I finished reading each one of them, I felt the divine urge to SHRED them page by page. I guess it might have been more symbolic to do some sort of ritualistic burning thing, but shredding them was enough for me. It was a cleaning out, a clearing of the past. Never one moment since I tore out the pages, one by one, and watched them be shred into little quarter inch strips have I regretted destroying them.

Ironically, when I packed up my parent's home, I found a huge box full of all my mother’s hand written journals. Unlike my skimpily written in journals she had filled each and every page, front and back, beginning to end. She lived in the country, fairly isolated and she recorded a good portion of the thirty years she lived there. When I asked her, what she wanted me to do with them and she told me she wanted me to read them after she died. She didn't say it in a very nice tone either. She has been gone for 3 years now and I still have no desire to read one word from them. I feel like she wrote them for me; and if she did, I know the words would be the same passive aggressive guilt trippy crap she used to say to me before I set boundaries and stopped listening to her. I will not shred her diaries and maybe there will come a day that I will want to know what she wrote about her own life but right now I do not want anything to do with them.

I am not sure exactly why I wrote about this particular memory. I am sure it has something to do with my blogging now. I know how important of a lesson it was for me to learn that my own mother did not trust me or respect my privacy. Her constant actions showed her true colors. She once told me she couldn't help how she was(it's just like her never to take responsibility for her actions)and then confessed that she had done so many bad and sneaky things as a teenager that she was just making sure I didn't get in the same trouble that she did. Hey...couldn't she have tried talking to me or lovingly teaching me? She was not very good at staying calm during any conversation so I guess she did what she thought was best.

Maybe it's because of how untrusted I felt while growing up that I consciously made sure that I was always respectful of any and all things that belonged to either of my sons. I always knocked before entering their rooms. I never looked though their drawers, wallets, glove compartments, book bags or the likes. Maybe that is why both of my sons have given me keys to their homes. I never want to loose their trust. Thanks, Mom for teaching me that important lesson. I just wish it had been by your good example. Your methods totally sucked.

Rose

1 comment:

Donna said...

My mom snooped and read my diaries too. And I was 21 at the time, living in my own apartment.

I know how you felt.